There’s not an “access to skills” deficit in resolving conflicts.
The access to learning, cutting edge developments, and research around engaged communication, emotional intelligence, active listening, body language cueing, and other areas is available virtually everywhere, whether through a trip to the library, your local bookstore or via a Google search.
The understanding that treating people in a civil manner, using power collaboratively rather than in a domineering fashion, and that “sharing is caring” is still taught in the kindergarten years.
The courage of people who have cared enough to take a risk to reach out, show vulnerability and work towards resolutions with other parties in conflicts (personal and professional) is evident all around us, from quiet ways in our families, to our neighborhoods and even the workplace.
And yet, many still believe that the tools for engaging with conflicts in a healthy, growth oriented way, rather than attacking, avoiding or accommodating conflict is somehow an esoteric and mysterious skill, available only to the select few.
Acting upon this belief gives our families, communities and workplaces more conflicts, more disputes, more misunderstandings and more problems.
Acting upon this belief in overt (and covert) ways tills the ground for the planting of the seeds of dysfunction that render our organizations incapable of change, our communities unable to confront hard decisions, and our governments paralyzed and impotent in the face of crises of our own making.
There are reams of paper and thousands of bytes of words expended on the “how-to” of resolving conflicts, and even more spilled on the benefits of the “why” of resolving conflicts. And yet, much of the resistance to taking (and implementing) the ideas of resolving conflicts proactively and in a healthy manner, is rooted in fear.
There’s not a skills problem for resolving conflicts. There’s a fear problem at the core of continued conflicts in our lives, our families, our workplaces and our neighborhoods.
The only way to overcome this fear is through engaging with something as equally as “unsexy” as engaging with conflict effectively: Building real relationships with people.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org